not_me posted at 05:41:34 PM on Nov 04, 2017:
However, it was a different world then. My school also had a teacher who was allowed to resign and leave town quietly after an inappropriate relationship with a student. This was not far from Addison and during the same time frame - it's how those types of allegations tended to be dealt with at the time.
I grew up in rural Lenawee County (not Addison, but southern Lenawee County), and while I don't like making it sound like I'm excusing Hickey's behavior, I agree that it was a different world then. My high school biology teacher married one of my classmates weeks after we graduated in 1987. And she wasn't the only one he hit on and flirted with during our high school years. (He's still at the school, but not married to the classmate anymore).
Michigan has listed the age of 16 as the age of consent since at least 1920. A teacher having a sexual relationship in the 1980s with a 14-year-old child would have been guilty of statutory rape, despite the so-called "different world."
I was a student in high school in the 1980s (a parochial school) and at least two of these incidents occurred while I attended. In each case this was handled "quietly" (i.e., teacher fired, parents likely pressured to keep quiet, probably some settlement dollars paid out) but the entire school knew about what was going on pretty quickly. However, both students were in the 17-18 year age range, and both of the cases I know were violations of school policy as opposed to statutory rape.
I want to shift gears a moment, though, and recount an even more serious case with which I had greater personal knowledge.
Interestingly, there was also a priest at our school who was later named by the Archdiocese of Detroit as a pedophile. The school dealt more harshly with lay teachers having sex with students than this priest, who victimized many children. He taught at my alma mater during the prime years he was active as a pedophile.
And yes: even as naive teenaged students we knew there was something wrong with Father Peter J. VanderLinden. He sought out disaffected, struggling young males with identity issues or low self-esteem and befriended them.
Then he raped them.
Of course, we did not know the exact details, but Fr. VanderLinden used to organize camping trips for freshmen and sophomores boys on his radar. I am sure he had formed some sort of club to give these trips official status, but I am too lazy to find and look through the yearbook.
I recall being creeped out in English class when he was lecturing or during reading time. He liked to put his hand on your shoulder or leg if you were a male; probably students like me who showed obvious unease (twisting away, shifting in the seat) were identified as students unlikely to be potential "recruits" to his camping trips.
I have no doubt that one day - maybe at a reunion, maybe after someone sees this hyperlinked post - a victim or two will share their stories with me. I am glad that - even though I was kind of disaffected and somewhat angry as a teen for reasons unrelated to this post - I had a strong sense of who I was and that at some level I knew that I did not have to let a creepy old man cop a feel.
Or anything worse.
I recall jerking away a few times in class, and clearly (in retrospect) he just moved on, though he could be kind of a jackass to students who were openly hostile toward these grooming stages.
< returning to the Hickey story >
So: when I read about the accusations in the Hickey case, I do not dismiss them as being from a "different world," except in the sense that prior to the 2000s, these things got swept under the rug too frequently. Most folks at the time knew these were predatory SOBs, and this was especially the case with the victims (I am setting aside the issue of victim-blaming, which is a very real phenomenon but more tangential to the issue of teacher misconduct).
I have no idea if Patrick Hickey is guilty of the sexual misconduct that he has been accused of perpetrating in Addison. I have had very limited interactions with him as a WLS parent, and I really had no opinion about him until the last year. However, between the Addison case and the better-documented unprofessional activities in the wake of his adultery scandal, I have many good reasons not to vote for Hickey on Tuesday.
And regarding the "75 percent of reports of teachers committing sexual misconduct are falsely filed" theory, I would hazard a guess that this is widely under-reported. However, this is probably starting to change now that more attention is being paid to the problem.